Six PR trends to consider when making your 2021 plans

Honest Communications, a specialist garden and home PR agency, social media management, content creation and communications agency

Forward planning is critical in PR and communications, and it is always good to start the new year with a clear idea of what you want to achieve – for your own business and for your clients – and how you intend to go about making that happen.

2021 will be seen as a ‘fresh start’ for many, even though we will still have challenges to face in the coming months. This is also a unique year because, even though we would like to forget that the previous one ever happened, it did actually teach us lessons that we will be able to put into practice now. PR and comms were put front and centre for many businesses when they saw the value in providing effective communication to their customers and to their staff. 2021 will be a time for the PR industry to truly position itself as a key strategic function of a business, whether it is outsourced or an internal department.

2020 demonstrated the importance of PR when communicating through difficult times, and it now needs to establish its role as things start to settle down. Here we look at some of the top communication trends that we think will be big in 2021 as a result of this.

Ethics, thoughtful marketing and the communication of values

2021 will see brands under ever more pressure to align their marketing and comms with a set of genuine values. ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) is a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. As companies face the increasing need to adopt more sustainable strategies and narratives, they will find that they will have to adapt to this code of conduct. This will play a major role in PR planning and strategy, as companies look to balance ESG compliance with their brand in an authentic way. This is should not be seen as a box ticking exercise, as any hint of inauthenticity will be damaging for a brand’s integrity, which is very hard to remedy.

Further challenging times will provide opportunity

Sadly, the world didn’t magically reset on 1st January. Coronavirus is still going to be present for months as the vaccine rolls out, and the economic impact will be severe and long-lasting while businesses recover. Communication professionals will have to help brands to get through an ongoing difficult period, and this is an opportunity for them to prove their worth and help to develop new organisational structures or working practices that put communication in a central role. Once seen as a luxury, PR is becoming increasingly essential, which can only be positive for marketing teams and communications professionals.

Brand communities

For years now, brands have used influencers to help engage audiences and build trust. Increasingly, though, it is the brands themselves that must build their own audiences instead and keep them on board. This means building genuine communities rather than simply offering reward schemes and surface level content, cultivating a group of customers who are invested in their brand beyond the products. A recent stand-out success story of a brand that has built a really strong community is Gymshark. It is essentially a workout clothing brand, but with a blog packed with tips, tutorials and exercises, it soon became seen as the go-to source for anything health and fitness related. Its pop-up shops also provided an opportunity for fans to engage with one-other, as well as pick up exclusive merchandise and take part in live classes.

Having a strong strategy for building this community off and online ensured that Gymshark created a brand experience that was easy, and attractive, to become part of and can be an inspiration for many brands going into 2021.

Increased digitalisation

It may sound obvious but the way in which people consume information, and entertainment, is increasingly digital. PRs must be thinking about creating digital first content. Not only this, but there will be a large percentage of the population who will never go back to the traditional 9 to 5 office hours again, and communications must reflect this in any internal or external campaigns. This goes for new product launches and trade events – how will the industry adjust to this ‘hands-off’ approach and keep communications engaging?


Following on from the previous points about a demand for both community and online content, pressure continues to grow for personalised customer and stakeholder communications. People want to feel as though they are being spoken to directly, about something that they are genuinely interested in – not that they are being sold something that isn’t relevant because the company hasn’t bothered to do their research. Naturally, the more targeted PR and marketing activity is, the greater the ROI – and that’s what we all want to see!. Developments in data-capture make this easier, but it is an activity that needs constant evaluation.


We know that SEO has played a massive role in communications for a long time, but now, more than ever, it needs to be a key focus. With ever increasing competition, and news that core webs vitals are going to become a ranking factor in May 2021, it is really important to develop a strong SEO strategy in order to ensure that a brand is featured in top SERP positions for relevant phrases.

If you’re looking to raise your brand’s profile in 2021 and want creative, strategic ways to get in front of your customers then get in touch. We’d love to have a chat with you to explore how we can navigate 2021 together.